Date the book

Quick game for Valentine’s Day: who would be your chosen fictional character to take out on a date? Or, as it’s still lockdown in a lot of places, to stay in with to enjoy dinner for two?

Doesn’t matter whether you’re single, like me, or coupled up; it’s fiction.

Would it be the arrogant Mr Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, who regularly appears to top the polls (you sort of forget his first name is Fitzwilliam). Or the spirited but callow Laurie from Alcott’s Little Women? Could it be passionate and idealistic George Emerson from E.M. Forster’s A Room with a View? Surely not Emily Brontë’s mean and moody Heathcliffe? Someone a little less… Historical, perhaps, such as Edward from Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series?

For those with a preference for women, does George Elliot’s clever, impulsive Maggie Tulliver make you turn the pages faster? Flirtatious and independent Shug Avery from Walker’s The Colour Purple or prickly, punkish Lisbeth Salander from Steig Larsson’s ‘the Girl’ books? Could it be that a more overtly sexy, sassy character steams up your reading glasses, a Bond girl maybe, like the beautiful and acerbic Tiffany Case in Fleming’s Diamonds Are Forever? Or smart and lovely Anne Riordan from Chandler’s Farewell, My Lovely?

‘Fictosexuality’ is, apparently, the word for a physical attraction towards fictional characters. Though in terms of a Valentine’s date, we could make that someone you’re simply attracted to – it doesn’t have to be sexual.

What’s beneficial about finding book characters attractive is that, even though a physical description may be provided, we tend to focus more on their personalities and actions, not getting too hung up on looks. This differs from crushing on actors and media personalities, where physical appearance can dominate.

Not that this makes our choices more fortunate, necessarily. Sorry to say that I found Nino Sarratore in Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend novels horribly attractive, even though he behaved so appallingly. Though on the plus side, better a fictional ‘bad boy’ than a real-life one. Anyway, mainly, I prefer brainy – and closer to my own age. Atticus Finch? Okay, you’re on.

Read It Forward compiled a roll of ‘30 Characters from Literature We’d Want as Valentines’. Whilst it contains a few of the ‘usual suspects’, it’s a bit more quirky and thoughtful than many lists. The top fifteen are given below. They’re not necessarily my choices, but they get plenty of readers’ votes.

Do you agree with any of these choices? Or who is your fictional crush?

Jamie Fraser from Diane Gabaldon’s Outlander series.
Heathcliff from Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights.
Hermione Grainger from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books.
Lenore Stonecipher Beadsman in David Foster Wallace’s The Broom of the System.
The Cat in the Hat from Dr. Suess stories.
Amory Blaine in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise.
Augustus Waters from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.
Peeta Mellark from Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games series.
The Lorax – Dr. Seuss again.
Edward Rochester in Charlotte Emily Brontë’s Jane Eyre.
Joelle van Dyne from David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest.
W.P. Inman from Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier.
Lawrence Selden in Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth.
Oedipa Maas from Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying Of Lot 49.
And just to add another female…
Lisbeth Salander from Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

Image thanks
Main image by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Smaller photo by Sandy Millar on Unsplash

17 thoughts on “Date the book

  1. Ooo good game!

    Well seeing as I love film adaptations of Thomas Hardy novels, I find them challenging reading and hard work
    and alas rarely finish but hey rural Dorset appears so beautiful. Anyways Tess Durbeyfield would be a memorable dinner date, a simple shy naïve young (attractive) country girl………..but has to be said desperately unlucky!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I imagine rural Dorset was lovely for the wealthy. Anything that stopped Tess meeting Alec d’Urberville sounds a good idea – if less of a plot!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Miss Marple. Because she could help me to figure things out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That also gives a relaxing image of taking tea in St. Mary Mead.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wizard Harry Dresden, from the Dresden Files and he’s already in Chicago. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh I don’t know that one; I’ll look out for it.


      1. It’s a long series. I think there are 17 books, all in Chicago. It’s a fabulous series and gets better around the 4th book. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Sounds good, thanks for the recommendation.


  4. I have no idea. Probably some sort of survivalist who would be patient with me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It would be great to meet an expert from a non-fiction book, or historical character.


  5. Definitely Darcy.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Gatsby or another Fitzgerald main character would be my choice. There are many contemporary ones too that could make for good company.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The ‘top twenty’ options do seem to run out in around the 1930s!

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Nino, absolutely! Even though I get so exasperated with him!

    Inman from Cold Mountain, also yes, presumably he looks likeJude Law, as in the movie? 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not just me on Nino! Yes, once a film is made, it’s hard not to have those characters in your head – I am afraid Atticus Finch is heavily influenced by Gregory Peck in his beautiful heyday.


  8. only Edward Rochester… ah, I loved (and still love) this guy 💙

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, whilst he’s not in my romantic top 10, I feel drawn to Rochester too. Maybe because whilst he got it badly wrong, his mistakes were understandably human ones (okay, in the context of the day). Plus he wasn’t meant to be ludicrously handsome!


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